Does Sacramento Really Hate Hip-Hop?
By MahtieBush of The Alumni
June 13, 2007
Let me start by saying thank you to UBO Magazine for letting me speak my mind on an important issue that is affecting a music-driven sub-culture in Sacramento, CA. For those of you who have not heard of me before, my name is Mahtie Bush and I live in Sacramento. I am an emcee, b-boy and am part of the local hip-hop group called The Alumni.
This piece is being written on an important issue that is sweeping our area. “Sacramento hates hip-hop.” This does not conclude that there are no hip-hop enthusiasts in our area but that the power-heads, such as night clubs, radio stations, TV media and newspapers show no love or true support to local hip-hop emcees and groups. This is due to stereotypes and ill circumstances that may surround around negative rap music that is associated with hip-hop even though specific situations may or may not have anything to do with the genre of music or living a hip-hop lifestyle.
“I don’t think Sac hates hip-hop, I just think there are nothing but ‘haters’ in this town,” according to Ospis, who is a part of Sacramento-based hip-hop group, Another Rap Group [A.R.G.].
The local media takes quick action in leaking news stories that are more negative and forgets to report positive aspects of the hip-hop community. Recently, 20-year-old California State University of Sacramento student Kebret Tekle was shot at around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 2 outside the Library Bar and Eatery Night Club, located at 7200 on Folsom Boulevard. This bar doubles as a nightclub where DJs and artists perform music. She was an innocent bystander. The situation should have never have occurred and many people have empathy for the family and are mourning their loss.
The local media, instead of properly distributing the news via broadcast or print decided to orchestrate their news reel into an exaggeration with false information. The Library had six bouncers who allowed the shooter and other people he was with into the club without checking properly for weapons and then they kicked them out when they were causing trouble inside without notifying authorities and having them leave the premises. None of which was stated on TV. Instead, most TV news sources just sited the perpetrator was a black male with a dread-lock hair style. Many TV news stations also stated that The Library was spinning hip-hop when, in fact the Sacramento State University was the promoter that evening, spinning top-40 music. CSUS even released a letter of remorse that few broadcasts picked up when the story first was spilled.
“As far as the people who actually run the city like the police, SN&R, The Sacramento Bee, the news stations and various media, they do not report stories and events concerned with hip-hop in a positive manner. We are always getting badgered and hip-hop’s good name is getting thrown in the dirt. This makes club owners not want to have good local talent perform at their spots, therefore we do not have a sufficient way to get our music out to the city,” says local Sacramento-based emcee, engineer and producer Roper, whose new mixtape, “Madman Mixtape, Volume 1,” is to be released July ’07 and sold locally at Vault, The Beat, Dimples, United State and Cool Cuts Gallery.
According to Roper, Hip-Hop Congress held an event for AIDS awareness, April 14 at the Oak Park Community Center. All news stations and proper media were notified and invited to this event. Nobody showed up.
“Maybe if a shooting was involved or an act of violence was to occur at that event you would have come rushing with cameras and anchormen/women. It is the media’s responsibility to be as accurate as possible when delivering stories. Right now, you are only showing the negative aspect of hip-hop culture and are very reluctant to show any positive outcome(s) in the Sacramento area when dealing with the culture. I would love to wake up one morning and see you report on positive hip hop in the community. Please show all aspects when reporting the news,” states Roper.
Even though the United States as a whole has a problem with playing hip-hop music in different venues, it seems that more and more, Northern CA, specifically Sacramento is having an increasing issue with hip-hop music, publicly.
Old Ghost, a long-time local promoter of live hip-hop and DJ acts in Sacramento was recently kicked out of a venue he was promoting with for unknown reasons and replaced by another promoter who specifically does not book hip-hop acts. More and more, it seems as if the only hip-hop acts ‘allowed’ to perform on weekends in Sacramento are mainstream acts or have live bands, leaving local hip-hop acts to perform mid-week if not at all.
“Hip-hop today is the epitome of pop [music]; both the style and the music. Hip-hop is also the epitome of street expression. These days we rarely will hear ‘hip-pop’ on the radio with a conscious message; although you’ll find a conscious message at almost every underground show in Sac. I think its time we all play a role in the movement to preserve the hip-hop culture. From a microscopic role, to a major role, remember [that] we are hip-hop.” Says Rich Wing AKA Rabioso_one, who runs local music promotion company, F.U.S.E. Entertainment.
Recently Wing had shows canceled at The Library due to the fact that the venue is now being shut down due to the unfortunate events on May 2. His show was moved to Hard Rock Café and then cancelled.
Sacramento’s so-called hip-hop radio has had a few local shows that were broadcasted such as “916 Leak” on KBMB 103.5, broadcasted on Sundays. This show has been canceled. KSFM 102.5 has a show entitled, “Future Flava Show,” hosted by Big Al, Derek D.O.A. Allen and Waynee Wayne.
“The FFS exclusively features thriving local recording artists, focuses on exposing good local talent and seeks to educate listeners more about the music business,” according to the Future Flava Show’s MySpace page, http://www.myspace.com/futureflavashow.
Why is it that most artists that are attempting to perform in Sacramento are not getting any play on this show?
“To the untrained eye it seems like sac hates hip-hop. The fans say there [are] no shows, the promoters say nobody comes to the shows, the cops shut shows down and the venues won’t allow shows without huge insurance policies. Yet we all benefit from the culture. It’s definitely a love/hate relationship.” Says Skurge of Sacramento based hip-hop group, Righteous Movement who was nominated for a S.A.M.M.I.E., an event hosted by Sacramento News and Review.
It seems as if local radio doesn’t want independent artists getting bigger than their own city. The only two that have made it are C-BO and Lynch. They had to jump through hoops in there own city just to get their name out there in the mainstream music scene. Local artist, Chuck-T was signed to Priority Records and now is signed to Rawkus Records but we still don’t hear him on the radio at all. No support.
I want to protest. I want to start a rally.
The News and Review has not written any meaningful stories about local hip-hop artists or culture this year. Sacramento has hip-hop heads such as Doey Rock, signed to Sick Wid It Records who works with E-40 and is doing big things, getting his name out there in other cities. He has performed countless shows all over and he isn’t being nominated for a SAMMIE this year.
I recently assisted in promoting a Nas show with KBMB on December 8, ‘06 at the Colonial Theater in Sacramento and personally invited The Sacramento Bee and Sacramento News and Review to cover the event. Neither of these viable, local media sources attended this event. At the time, The Sacramento Bee was writing a series about the Sacramento ‘rap scene’ and only focusing on ‘gansta rap.’ Many hip-hop heads were hoping that the next story from the series would offer light on conscious hip-hop, street hip-hop, the history of Sacramento and the hip-hop community and culture but it did not.
“We are the musical step-child of this city,” explains Roper.
It is only fair to show all sides to a story and not just one. This is the main reason why stereotypes begin. Maybe I’m just wrong but if you look at this situation the way I have, perhaps you may agree that “Sac Hates Hip-Hop.”
For more information about Mahtie Bush’s opinion towards Sacramento’s media resources and the hip-hop community, please visit his website, http://www.sachateshiphop.com and his MySpace page, http://www.myspace.com/mahtiemush916. Bush breaks down specific reasons why Sacramento shares a negative opinion towards the hip-hop community in its own city. He says you may be shocked at whose names “pop up.” Mahtie Bush has a new album, with four tracks produced by Roper that will be released summer ’07 and is entitled, “Sac Hates Hip-Hop.” You can purchase it on his MySpace page.